Posted by: Kelsey Avers | April 18, 2010

Having trouble sleeping? The culprit: your late-night diet.

Eat spicy foods before bed, and you might feel like this every morning.

This post can be utilized by two different types of college students, the first one being the student that has trouble getting a decent nights rest after eating late dinners, and can’t figure out what the problem is, and the second one being the student that finds themselves pulling frequent all-nighters to finish that 12-page research paper they totally procrastinated on. Either way, it’s useful information.

If you’re the latter, then the even-more-perfect read for you would be my post, “Snacking through the all-nighter.

Following is a list of foods and drinks that you’re eating that could result in a restless night of sleep. But first, a quick quip of science:

Foods that keep us awake contain tyramine, an amino acid that causes the release of a brain stimulant called norepinephrine, which can keep us wired all night long. Tyramine foods include:
Bacon, Sausages
Red wine
Smoked meats, Fish

He obviously did not read #2...

5 food/drink-related reasons you can’t sleep very well at night:

1. Spicy foods
That curry can lead to some serious heartburn, which results in a rude awakening every few hours. Try eating heavy, spicy Indian takeout meals at least four hours before bedtime.

2. Caffeine
This one should be obvious, Avoid any food or drink that contains caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate) several hours before you hit the sack. Caffeine is a natural chemical that activates the central nervous system, which means that it revs up nerves and thought processes. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll start to feel jittery and sometimes a little ill, so stop drinking or eating anything containing caffeine at least eight hours before bed.

3. Alcohol
Yeah, some people might drink that glass of red wine or that bottle of beer to help them relax after a long day. But the problem is that even though alcohol relaxes you, that effect can wear off at the worst time: in the middle of your deep sleep. This results in a restless night; so try your best not to use it as a sort of “sleeping pill” of life.

You DON'T want  this to be you

You DON'T want this to be you

4. Eating large meals right before bedtime
If you just ate a huge dinner an hour before you are going to head to bed, you might have to unbuckle your belt and lie back to relax, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Eating a dinner that has too much more than 600 calories will slow down your digestion and make you feel uncomfortable in a few hours. No one wants to wake up in the middle night with an icky tummy ache.

5. Drinking a lot of liquid right before bedtime
I would strongly suggest that you stop drinking liquids about an hour and a half before you go to sleep. It takes 90 minutes for your body to process liquids, and I doubt you want to finally snooze into la-la land, only to be awakened by a potty break.



  1. Another good tip for sleeping through the night: Do not drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.

    This can lead to having children (twice!!) which leads to never having a good night’s rest for the remainder of your life.

    That is all.

  2. Lots of great info here. I had trouble sleeping before I was diagnosed with sleep apnea…another reason why some people aren’t sleeping well. Thank God I got a CPAP machine, now I can sleep pretty easily.

    On a site note, Gracie’s response is hilarious. Note to self, no green beer on St. Paddys, lol.

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